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Gharb

Gharb, GozoThis village of about 1000 inhabitants lies in the western part of Gozo. 'Gharb', in fact, means 'the West'. It started as a small hamlet a long way back in history, and one can still see ancient houses with decorated stone balconies in the parish church area.

Gharb has delightful countryside around it, particularly at Dbiegi, where the hill is the highest one in the island. The surroundings here re ideal for walking. Also at Dbiegi, just outside Gharb, is a centre for Gozo crafts which attracts many visitors.

At Birguma, also within Gharb's limits, there is the chapel of St.Demetrius, or "San Dimitri" as the Gozitans call it. One of the many legends of Gozo asserts that the first chapel was built on the cliff-side by a woman whose son was freed from captivity by San Dimitri.

The chapel eventually sank beneath the sea. The legend maintains that fishermen, occasionally, see a lighted oil-lamp at the spot where the chapel came to rest on the seabed.

Gharb became a parish in 1679. The building of its church, dedicated to the Visitation of the Virgin to St. Elizabeth, started in that period, but was not completed before 1732. The church is a lovely baroque structure with a concave facade. The altarpiece, depicting the Virgin and St. Elizabeth, is by the local artist Francesco Zahra.
Village of Gharb, Gozo

In the 18th century, the church became a collegiate parish church.

The feast of the Visitation is celebrated on the 1st Sunday of July.

The piazza in front of the church, with its stone parish-cross and Id houses, is typical of a medieval village square.

Outside Gharb, there is the farmhouse of Carmela Grima, the peasant woman who heard voices at Ta' Pinu in 1883.

A marble plaque on the wall commemorates that event.

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